Friday, January 08, 2010

Where In the World Would You Go?

There are a few times in my life I've thought about becoming an expat. I certainly gave it great consideration during the months leading up to last November's presidential election when there was a chance we'd have a McCain-Palin administration!

In recent months, as I've watched as President Obama's campaign promises -- for transparency, real health care reform, correcting the underlying causes of the economic failure and many more -- all seem to be gone with the wind, I've begun thinking about the possibilities again.

Earlier this week, International Living magazine released their 2010 Quality of Life Index, in which they rank and rate 194 countries to come up with their list of the best places in the world to live.

As I've been dealing with the imminent loss of my health insurance (my COBRA will run out at the end of February), I'd already been thinking about Canada. Although I've never been there, Vancouver is on my short list of places I could imagine living. The fact that they have a single payer health care system is, of course, the main reason I'd consider venturing north. According to International Living's index, Canada ranks as the 9th best country in which to live!

After seeing Michael Moore's Sicko, France was looking pretty damn good too. Not only do they have the world's best health care system according to the World Health Organization's rankings, but they offer their citizens a free education from pre-school through university too!

Since I don't speak French, the language might be a problem, and then there's the problem of the French being basically rude and that they have a reputation for being anti-Semitic. But I'd probably be willing to give France a shot... They ranked #1, again, on the International Living Quality of Life index.

As for the good ole' USA, we ranked #7, down from #3 last year. We didn't fare very well when it came to health care, although we outshone all the others in infrastructure.

The most surprising category in the index was freedom. Of the top 10 countries on the list -- France, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Luxembourg, US, Belgium, Canada and Italy -- eight scored 100 in the Freedom category. The United States and Italy both garnered a score of 92.

Italy has Berlusconi, and here in the US, we have warrent-less wiretapping, "free speech zones," government sponsored torture, we're currently waging wars in two countries who haven't threatened us and, sadly, the list goes on.

Hmmm, France is beginning to look even better.